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Ask the Experts: What’s a Fartlek?

Ask the Experts: What’s a Fartlek?

“Can someone explain what a fartlek is in layman’s terms?” - Deanna, New York, NY You’ve probably heard a million times that “fartlek” (pronounced: fart-lick) is a Swedish word for “speed play”, but that doesn’t really help you do a fartlek workout does it? A fartlek workout is similar to an unstructured interval workout. You may have done track workouts where you ran a lap (or more) hard, then jogged a lap to recover, and repeated that process … Read entire article »

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Ask the Experts: Ice Baths

Ask the Experts: Ice Baths

“My friend told me I should take an ice bath following my long runs. That sounds a little crazy! Should I give it a try?” -Pauline S. Omaha, NE Taking an ice bath following a long run is almost as much a tradition for marathon trainees as the post race medal. The theory behind it goes something like this: Running hard and/or running for long periods of time causes micro trauma in the leg muscles. This is good … Read entire article »

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Ask the Experts: Clydesdales and Fillies

Ask the Experts: Clydesdales and Fillies

Last week, I was sitting at the awards ceremony of a 5K and they announced winners for the Clydesdale and Filly divisions. I don’t recall racing against any horses. What does that mean? -John H. Butte, MT Although age group divisions are pretty standard across all running events, one often comes upon other specialized divisions. Many races have special divisions for runners in the armed forces, or runners who’ve survived cancer. Less common are races that have … Read entire article »

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Ask the Experts: Blisters

Ask the Experts: Blisters

I’m training for a fall marathon and I’ve been ramping up my mileage on the weekends. On my last two long runs, I’ve developed blisters on the side of my heel. Do I need new shoes? -Vida B. Washington, D.C. Chances are, you probably don’t need new shoes. The blame for your blisters probably lies more with your socks than your shoes. While you’ve been increasing your mileage, mother nature has been increasing the temperature. Long, hot … Read entire article »

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Ask the Experts: Speeding Up

I’ve been running 5K every other day since I ran my first 5K race on Thanksgiving. I just can’t seem to get my time below 28 minutes. How is it possible for people to run under 20 minutes? Am I just slow? - Jonathon M., St. Petersburg, FL While some people are indeed naturally faster than others, just about anyone can run a 5K in under 20 minutes, given enough of the proper training (the really fast people do it under 16 minutes). We all grew up with the saying “practice makes perfect”. I’m not going to argue with that, but after a certain point, simply running 5K over and over again will yield smaller and smaller results. The trick is to train the individual aspects of your physiology that are required … Read entire article »

Filed under: Ask the Experts, Columns

Ask the Experts: Vibram Five Fingers

What’s your opinion on the Vibram 5-finger running shoes? Hideous, yes. But are they good for running? -Tricia There are few things that have polarized the running community more in recent years than the emergence of Vibram Five Finger running shoes and the movement toward barefoot and minimalist running. The first time, I heard this question, it was asked of an expert on stage while I was shopping for a shot glass at the 2008 Walt Disney World Marathon expo. “For every person who has had success wearing the Vibram Five Fingers,” he replied, “I’ve seen nine more who’ve injured themselves.” Case closed? Actually, I’m a believer in the movement toward barefoot and minimalist running but I also agree with the expert who was on stage that day (unfortunately, I can’t remember who he was). … Read entire article »

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Ask the Experts: Foot Numbness

I am a 2-4 mile runner 5 days/wk and I have had a problem for years. After about 20 mins of running, my left foot (and sometimes both) fall asleep. Doctors are puzzled…does this happen to anyone else? -Carrie While foot numbness is a symptom of several different medical conditions, including diabetes, vitamin B12 deficiency and even lead poisoning, the condition in runners is often due to some sort of nerve compression. The most common of these is called Morton’s Neuroma. It’s caused by a compression of the nerve between the third and fourth toe. Numbness will typically start on the outside of the third toe and inside of the fourth toe, but can often spread throughout the whole foot. Over time, the nerve thickens with scar tissue. The condition is more … Read entire article »

Filed under: Ask the Experts, Columns